Nokia Sports Tracker and Tracing Personal Mobility

Posted: March 16th, 2007 | 2 Comments »

Ykä Huhtala and Jussi Kaasinen of Nokia Research recently offered for free download their Nokia Sports Tracker for S60 3rd edition phones. Nokia Sports Tracker uses a Bluetooth GPS device or an integrated GPSis a GPS based activity tracker that runs on S60 smartphones. Information such as speed, distance and time are automatically stored to your training diary.

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I programmed a similar application in S60 Python a while ago. However I rapidly got annoyed by several things:
- the need to find an place to get good visibility to satellites for the GPS to warm-up and start running
- while running, the phone would sometimes lose the Bluetooth connection to the GPS without being able to automatically reconnect (possibly a S60 Python issue)
- I would often run in forests where I would get bad or no GPS signal impacting the measured distance.
- Wearing a mobile phone + GPS unit while running is a pain (e.g. straps that get loose).
- I ended up taking phone calls or reading/writing SMSs…

Relation to my thesis: There is a real interest in logging personal mobility and activity (i.e. traces) for health (pedometers, BioMapping, Nokia Sports Tracks, Nike+iPod) or social (Jaiku, Marc Hottinger’s dataSpaces) purposes. Such applications can provide valuable self-awareness and replay tools (such as in persuasive or healthcare systems). However, beyond the privacy and ethic issues, the way to integrate them in our daily lives, collect data and way to deliver them in a meaningful way is still at its infancy.


Courtesy of Bio Mapping

2 Comments on “Nokia Sports Tracker and Tracing Personal Mobility”

  1. 1 Julian Bleecker said at 5:10 pm on March 17th, 2007:

    I think that the instrumented approach to measuring activity like this is quite compelling to many fitness enthusiasts. Knowing the numbers and tracking progress through spreadsheets and graphs has its appeal for those who want to measure very detailed incremental increases in their fitness. I think that there is the possibility for re-calibrating what gets to count as “fitness” so that it has a less instrumental meaning. So, rather than fitness measured as how far you can run in what amount of time, fitness could be shaped around less self-centered characteristics, such as how much CO2 your super hero avatar prevented from escaping into the atmosphere, or how many dinosaurs you saved by avoiding turning them into the fuel from their fossils. I only say this because, plainly, the GPS thing is wonky at best as you describe. In many cases it works perfectly fine — but in the off case that it does not work well, there’s a real issue in terms of user adoption or satisfaction. If you measure physical activity more “ambiently” or with less instrumentalized rigor (sum-of-squares acceleration versus meters moved), you can tap into much less expensive techniques. Also, there’s an exciting challenge there — can we redefine the culture of fitness, tie it into the booming electronic games business — all in the service of elevating ecoawareness? It’d be like crossing the streams in Ghost Busters!

  2. 2 fred said at 10:53 pm on May 2nd, 2008:

    Hi all,

    Just a short note to remind you that Nokia has stolen the name “SportsTracker”
    This application has been on the web for years now.

    That probably did not matter when they choose the name. Bast….